Chicago neighborhood wants Obama library

December 26, 2012

Another Chicago neighborhood is seeking to be the future home of the Barack Obama presidential library.

No official plans have been made yet. But residents in the historically black Bronzeville neighborhood say there's 37 acres there that are a perfect fit.

Harold Lucas is president of the Black Metropolis Convention & Tourism Council in the neighborhood. He says the neighborhood is the ideal place to tell the story of the nation's first black president. Bronzeville is where a number of black leaders, artists and pioneers worked or lived.

"The cherry on the sundae of us becoming a international, national heritage area of the black metropolis is the construction of the presidential library," Lucas said. He runs the council, which promotes tourism on Chicago’s South Side. Lucas gives black heritage tours in the area.

In addition to pushing that Bronzeville host the library, Lucas says the library should harken back to Obama’s Chicago roots as an organizer.

"(The library should include) a community organizing institute on the former site of Michael Reese Hospital," Lucas said.

Community meetings are underway to decide what to do with the land where the hospital once sat.

Several Chicago locations have expressed interest in the library, including an old U.S. Steel South Works site and the University of Chicago. The University of Hawaii has also been mentioned as a possibility.

There are 13 U.S. presidential libraries, which preserve records, papers and other historical materials.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.